What is Dementia?

Dementia is a progressive brain dysfunction, which results in a restriction of daily activities and in most cases leads to the need for care. Dementia is not a specific disease. People with dementia have significantly impaired intellectual functioning that interferes with normal activities and relationships. Dementia often causes people to have problems finding the right words when having a conversation and causes them to become confused when given too many things at once. They also lose their ability to solve problems and maintain emotional control, and they may experience personality changes and behavioral problems, such as agitation, delusions, hallucinations, becoming aggressive, paranoid or depressed. Dementia impairs the ability to carry out everyday activities such as driving, household chores, and even personal care such as bathing, dressing, and feeding. Dementia also causes a decline in memory. Dementia is most common in elderly people; it used to be called senility and was considered a normal part of aging. We now know that dementia is not a normal part of aging but is caused by a number of underlying medical conditions that can occur in both elderly and younger persons. 

Dementia can be caused by drugs or alcohol, or hormone or vitamin imbalances. In some cases, although the person may appear to have dementia, a severe depression can be causing the symptoms. This is known as pseudo-dementia (false dementia) and is highly treatable. In some cases, dementia can be reversed with proper medical treatment. In others, it is permanent and usually gets worse over time. In most cases, however, dementia cannot be cured.

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